What’s the easiest way to start a revolution to open up the conversation about sexual assault in the workplace and speak up for underrepresented women in the food industry? Start your own magazine.
That’s just what Kerry Diamond did, and she made it look easy. She is effortlessly combining food and fashion journalism today in her indie, bi-annual, print publication, Cherry Bombe. She currently is preparing for Cherry Bombe’s sixth-annual Jubilee Conference on Saturday, April 14th, in which speakers, chefs, bakers, and activists come together for a day of food and drink.
Since graduating from SUNY Plattsburgh, Diamond worked at Women’s Wear Daily, Harper’s Bazaar, Lancome and Coach, but later landed in the restaurant industry after falling in love with a chef. From this experience, she determined first-hand that the food industry needed more woman-power. Thus, Cherry Bombe, the publication of Diamond’s imagination, came to be, sprouting since then to take on recipies, photos, artwork, personal essays, and more.
This new business venture for Diamond did not begin miraculously; it took many dedicated years to get off the ground. “Suffice to say, the nitty was gritty,” Diamond said. “I was craving a community in the food world and didn’t think women in the industry were getting enough due. It was a very bro-y time.”
Diamond was working as an executive at Lancome in 2010 when she and her then-boyfriend, who was a chef, decided to open their first restaurant together. Diamond was always an enthusiastic home cook and farmer’s market fan, but it was only after they opened their first business venture in food that she realized that women in the industry weren’t clearly represented, and she “snapped to attention.”
The restaurant industry is predominantly male, with just 19% of women working as chefs, but 71% working as servers. Diamond strove to contribute to changing these statistics by opening up the conversation of food to women in a professional, modern way – rather than the domestic stereotypes that follow women in the kitchen.
While later working in PR at Coach, Diamond’s ideas had been swirling around in her head to start her own food publication, and she soon had the idea for Cherry Bombe. Her routine then became working her day job during office hours and working on the magazine at night.
Diamond feels that one of the hardest transitions she had to make was leaving Coach to focus on her own business. “All of a sudden, there was no backup. No assistants, no interns, no HR department, no expense account; you get the idea. Everything is your responsibility,” Diamond said.
But despite the tough start, Cherry Bombe was born. As for the name, that just popped into Diamond’s head. “It’s a combination of a French dessert, the Runaways song, and a firework. It seemed perfect,” Diamond said.
Cherry Bombe today is a print publication, and as for the choice not to go digital, Diamond said that it was never really discussed in an interview with Melting Butter: “I loved printed matter. Books, magazines, art, photography, album covers, posters. These things resonate with me on an emotional level.” Co-founder of the publication, Claudia Wu, said in this interview that there is a possibility of doing digital in the future: “Eventually, we would like to have a digital presence to augment the content of the magazine.”
Though the magazine only prints bi-annually, Cherry Bombe is constantly staying involved in other projects throughout the year, including their Jubilee Conference held every spring which is, “dedicated to conversation, connections, and, of course, great food and drink,” according to the Cherry Bombe website, and their weekly podcast, Radio Cherry Bombe.
The podcast launched a few years ago, with author Julia Turshen as the host, but with Diamond later taking over as the full time host. Diamond considers the show to be doing well, with over one million downloads in 2016. “It’s way more popular than the magazine, probably because it’s free. And because people love podcasts,” Diamond said. “They’re soothing and entertaining at the same time, at least the ones I listen to.”
A publication like Cherry Bombe is extremely relevant to some of the most important conversations happening today. “I think when Cherry Bombe launched, it tapped into something women in and around the food world were feeling, but hadn’t really articulated, namely, a desire for recognition and community,” Diamond said. “Who would have anticipated the way the world would change in the years after we launched? Hillary, Trump, the Women’s March, #MeToo. It’s remarkable.”
Diamond is of course referencing the #MeToo movement, created to encourage those affected by sexual assault and violence that they are not alone. In another effort to stick up for women, Cherry Bombe is involved with the #86This project, an online issue of the magazine dedicated to harassment, gender, and moving forward, according to Cherry Bombe’s website. It includes publications of personal essays from survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault, giving victims a voice and a platform through the Cherry Bombe brand.
“We’re willing to get political when it comes to supporting women. Not everyone in the food industry have that luxury,” Diamond said.
Though Cherry Bombe isn’t following a strict business plan, Diamond has many ideas in her head for publications to come. “The main vision is to stick with the mission of supporting women in food on whatever future social and/or media platforms emerge next!” Diamond said. “Who knows. Holograms. Talking refrigerators. News via telepathy.”
Diamond is a great example of what good can come out of taking risks, using your voice for a greater good, and falling in love with a chef.